Effects of aerobic and anaerobic exercise on glucose tolerance in patients with coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Schwaab B; Kafsack F; Markmann E; Schütt M;

Cardiovascular Endocrinology & Metabolism [Cardiovasc Endocrinol Metab] 2020 Feb 21; Vol. 9 (1), pp. 3-8. Date of Electronic Publication: 20200221 (Print Publication: 2020).

In patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), physical activity is strongly advised as nonpharmacological therapy. In general, a moderate aerobic exercise intensity is recommended. It was also proposed, however, that greater intensities tend to yield even greater benefits in HbA1c. Hence, the most appropriate exercise intensity seems not to be established yet. We compared the effect of moderate (aerobic) and vigorous (anaerobic) activity on postprandial plasma glucose.
Methods: In 10 consecutive patients (63 ± 12 years, BMI 28.3 ± 2.6 kg/m2, fasting plasma glucose 6.1 ± 1.2 mmol/l), 2-hour plasma glucose was ≥11.1 mmol/l in the oral glucose tolerance test at rest (OGTT-0). Cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPX) was performed until a respiratory exchange ratio (RER) ≥1.20, beeing anaerobic (CPX-1), followed by OGTT-1. A steady-state CPX of 30-minute duration was performed targeting an RER between 0.90 and 0.95, being aerobic (CPX-2), followed by OGTT-2.
Results: In CPX-1, maximum exercise intensity (maxIntensity) averaged at 99 ± 30 Watt and peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) reached 15.9 ± 2.8 ml/min/kg. In CPX-2, aerobic intensity averaged at 29 ± 9 Watt, representing 31% of maxIntensity and 61% of VO2peak. After aerobic exercise, 2-hour plasma glucose was significantly reduced to an average of 9.4 ± 2.3 mmol/l (P < 0.05). Anaerobic exercise did not reduce 2-hour plasma glucose as compared to OGTT-0 (12.6 ± 2.2 vs 12.6 ± 3.9 mmol/l).
Conclusion: Aerobic exercise intensity was very low in our patients with CHD and T2DM. Postprandial plasma glucose was reduced only by aerobic exercise. Larger studies on the optimal exercise intensity are needed in this patient cohort.